I’ve considered myself a British comedy enthusiast ever since I saw my first Monty Python sketch in middle school. From the distinct absurdity of Green Wing to the mundanity of The Office, I enjoy the entire comedy gamut. Therefore, it threw me for a bit of a loop when I watched the first episode of House of Fools mainly because this sitcom is all over the spectrum.
Starring comedy double act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (who would fit well into my British Celebrities I Still Don’t Know series) I was a bit befuddled right from the start. Based on the retro opening and the buttoned down appearance of the lead actors, I first pegged House of Fools as a nostalgic sitcom in the vein of Open All Hours or Only Fools and Horses. Obviously I was expecting David Jason.
Also can I ask? Vic and Bob eerily resemble Morcambe and Wise, do they not?
However, after watching a full episode, I began to understand that Vic and Bob are actually more like these fellows:
House of Fools features a combination of stop action animation sequences reminiscent of Robot Chicken. (Sorry, try as I might I could find no clips or even still images of the doll segments). Characters randomly break out in song as they did in musical films of old. And a definite Young Ones influence can be evidenced in the occasional act of violent slapstick…
It’s not that I don’t find parts of this programme amusing because I do. Matt Berry is funny as Vic and Bob’s lothario friend, Beef. Of course he plays essentially the same character in everything he does, but hey, I like him anyway.
I also learned that pork pies are huge! It’s almost like a work of architecture, a pork pie is.
Is House of Fools a test of my unswerving devotion to UK comedy? Am I being punished for scoffing at my fellow countrymen who just don’t “get” the British sense of humour? Am I incapable of accepting a mash-up of sub-genres in one sitcom?
Honestly, I’ve watched episodes of This is Jinsey and found them to be more coherent than House of Fools.
Hold on, just let me calm down a second here. Could it be that the range of British comedy is vast and varied and even amongst Brits themselves not every one thinks the same stuff is funny? Yeah, that’s probably it. Crisis averted. Phew.
P.S. After an initial report that House of Fools might not be recommissioned and the resulting Twitter campaign initiated by Stephen Fry to save the show, BBC Two has given the sitcom the go ahead for a second series. Congrats to Vic and Bob!